At the current growth rate, screens would be around 60% larger by 2025
“WELCOME to the big screens,” boasts Apple of its latest iPhone models, which it announced on September 12th. The supersized-sounding XS Max is the first iPhone to have a display of more than 100 square centimetres (cm2 in area. That puts it level with Samsung’s gargantuan Galaxy Note9, and gives users nearly three times as much screen real-estate as the first iPhone, which appeared in 2007.
When will the supersizing stop? Plotting a simple trend line through Apple’s past upgrades suggests that the screens of its “phablets”—that is, phones that are becoming increasingly like tablets—could reach 160cm2 by 2025. In reality, it will be hard to make them any bigger. The body of the XS Max is actually slightly smaller than that of the iPhone 6 Plus, which Apple unveiled four years ago. Designers have dispensed with the border and the home button in order to fit more screen into a similar-sized device. But some customers, especially women, have complained on social media that the handsets are getting too hefty for their hands. And it’s already difficult to sit down if you have an iPhone 8 Plus in your jeans pocket.
As screens have got bigger, their resolution has increased too, which results in sharper images and graphics, and the potential to display more text in a small space (at least for users with good eyesight). iPhone enthusiasts will enjoy the 3.3m pixels provided by the XS Max, which is more than on the latest iPad. If they are willing to spend $1,100 on a new handset, that is.